This week’s parshah, Shemot, is full of drama. Moses is born in Egypt at a time when Pharaoh has decreed that all Hebrew baby boys must die. To save him, Moses’ mother and sister place him in a basket and cast him into the Nile River. Moses is found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as a prince. As an adult, Moses sees an Egyptian taskmaster whipping a Hebrew slave, kills the taskmaster and hides the body. Upon learning that he has been seen, Moses runs away only to come upon the burning bush, where God tells him that he will save the Hebrews and guide them to the Promised Land.
Moses is a complicated person who seems to have two sides. One side is the infant, child and even adult who needs help from others: his mother and sister, Pharaoh’s daughter, his brother and God. The other side is the courageous Moses who stops the abusive taskmaster, confronts Pharaoh and leads an entire people out of Egypt. In many ways, Moses is no different from any of us.
In my own life, my family keeps me safe and healthy. My teachers give me knowledge that allows me to be independent. I know that my friends are there when I need them. But like Moses, I must sometimes be courageous and take risks on my own to accomplish something. When I am up to bat, taking a penalty shot or shooting a free throw, my team is there but I am responsible for what I do. Others can help me study for a test, but when the papers are handed out, I am the only one filling in the answers.
When we have people supporting us, we gather courage and confidence to do things on our own. Both roles are critical — the supporting and the doing. Moses ends up being one of the greatest heroes in the Torah, but that would not have happened without the help of his family, Pharaoh’s daughter and God. We know how much Moses did for the Jewish people, and we should acknowledge everyone who helped him succeed. We should also recognize the people in our own lives who help us succeed and make sure they know how grateful we are.
Ezra Geller is a seventh-grader at Krieger Schechter Day School.